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Outside Business Journal

Wolverine to acquire Collective Brands’ Performance and Lifestyle groups for $1.23 billion; Saucony to join Merrell and Chaco

Wolverine Worldwide, parent to Merrell, Chaco and Patagonia Footwear, will add Saucony to its list of outdoor and running brands as the company announced a deal to acquire Collective Brands’ Performance and Lifestyle groups for about $1.23 billion

David Clucas

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Wolverine Worldwide, parent to Merrell, Chaco and Patagonia Footwear, will add Saucony to its list of outdoor and running brands as the company announces a deal to acquire Collective Brands’ Performance and Lifestyle groups for approximately $1.23 billion.

The acquisition also includes Collective’s Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite and Keds marks. Including Saucony, the four brands produced about $1 billion in revenue in 2011. All together, Wolverine would grow to 16 outdoor, athletic and lifestyle shoe brands with sales of about $2.5 billion, officials say.

Investment firms Blum Capital and Golden Gate will jointly acquire the operations of Collective’s Payless ShoeSource and Collective Licensing International for about $770 million, which together will operate as a standalone entity.

The deal would be the largest in the footwear industry since VF Corp. bought Timberland for $2 billion last summer.

 

“Our company is thrilled to add these four iconic brands to our proven global platform,” Wolverine Worldwide CEO Blake Krueger says. “Saucony’s leadership in the athletic space complements Merrell to provide a powerful resource in running, training, trail, minimalist and barefoot footwear.”

Saucony, which got its start in 1898, was acquired by Stride Rite Corp. in 2005. Payless ShoeSource then bought out Stride Rite, including Saucony, in 2007 to create Collective Brands. In 2011, it reported approximately $270 million in sales with 54 percent of its business to women, officials say.

Krueger says Wolverine will look to grow Saucony’s international sales, which accounted for 23 percent of the business in 2011. The new ownership has also indicated a plan to accelerate the growth of Saucony’s running apparel line.

Saucony is based in Lexington, Mass., where it will continue to operate with the other three Collective brands, officials say. Wolverine is based in Rockford, Mich.

Wolverine recently reported lower revenue and profit for the first quarter 2012, but officials say they are upbeat about the second half of the year.

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